Windsor grabs game one of the LLFHL West Midget A four point series
Thursday, March 21, 2019
By Rob J. Ross
ST. THOMAS - Already with an appearance in the Ontario Women's Hockey Association (OWHA) Midget A provincials secured, the St. Thomas Panthers are aiming to have a spot at the Lower Lakes Female Hockey League (LLFHL) final weekend as well.
The Panthers will need to come behind in the LLFHL West Division four point final, after dropping game one, 4-2, to the Windsor Wildcats, Thursday, at the Joe.
Tied at two after two periods, Lauryn MacPherson scored the go ahead goal for Windsor early third period.
The Panthers pulled goalie Grace McCallum for the extra attacker in the final minute of the third period, but Wildcat Sydney Shepherd blocked a shot, found the puck and fired it into the empty net.
"In the second period we identified a couple of things they (Wildcats) were doing and we made changes in our defensive zone to give us better protection and help our goalie more. Unfortunately, that did take a little bit of our offensive attack away," St. Thomas head coach Sean Beer said. "We didn't do a good enough job moving the puck deep into the offensive zone. Every time we moved in, it was only three quarters in to the corners. It wasn't down in deep. Every time we got it down in deep, we were able to turn it over, get some pressure and some shots."
Panthers' Kendra Hulst and Clare Van Bommel and Wildcats' Madison Tomkins and Lily Symons, on the power play, traded goals over the first two periods.
"From a shot side, we put 26 on net and seven or eight were good scoring opportunities. They had more shots," said Beer. "In the third period they got nine shots. We took them away from 15-16 shots a period down to nine. We identified a couple things and made the changes and worked on them in this third period to make sure we were good going forward."
Game two is Saturday at Windsor. Game three, if necessary, would be back here at the Joe on Sunday.
St. Thomas (13-3-6) finished first in the West Division, one point ahead of Windsor (13-4-5). The teams split the season series with two wins a piece.
After receiving a bye in the first round for finishing first, the Panthers needed three games to dispatch the Sarnia Lady Sting. Following a 2-2 tie, the Panthers blanked the Lady Sting, 4-0 and 1-0.
In earning a berth at the OWHA provincials, April 5-8th, in Vaughan, the Panthers went undefeated over a six game stretch, against the Bluewater Hawks and two London Devilette teams.
The Panthers qualified despite a number of injuries late in the season, including one game with just 10 players.
"We played a little more defensively," said Beer. "We played a trap every once in a while. That gave us an opportunity to attack, turn the puck over. The teams would try to make adjustments and every time we would change and go back on the offensive. We were able to take advantage of that."
St. Thomas has the Saugeen-Maitland Lightning, Barrie Sharks and Ottawa Valley Thunder, in their pool at provincials.